Coast Mountain bus driver fined $1,500 for careless driving in fatal crash that killed co-worker
A Coast Mountain bus driver has been ordered to pay a $1,500 fine for careless driving in an incident that left a co-worker pinned between two buses and led to his death.
Mandip Kaur Sidhu, 47, received the sentence Friday at the provincial court in Vancouver for driving without due care and attention. She was charged in August 2022 and pleaded guilty earlier this month.
The charge and sentence are for a September 2021 incident in downtown Vancouver that killed fellow bus driver Charanjit Parhar, 64.
Summary of facts
During the two-day sentencing hearing, Judge James Sutherland summarized details of the incident, noting the crash happened while Sidhu was driving an articulated trolley bus east on West Cordova Street just after 8:15 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2021. It was a route and type of vehicle she had driven many times before.
Sidhu stopped at a bus stop directly behind another bus with its four-way flashers on.
Parhar walked toward her bus. He told her the bus had a mechanical issue. She assumed he'd walk to the back of his bus to fix the issue.
Sidhu's bus suddenly accelerated into Parhar and his bus. She had testified she was sure her foot had been on the brake pedal. Parhar's bus was launched forward at least 1½ metres.
Parhar was left pinned between two vehicles. He died the next day from his injuries.
'Humble' and 'caring' man
The judge noted Sidhu is a single mother who had been driving school buses since 2007. She was hired by Coast Mountain in November 2020 and had a month and a half of training.
Sutherland noted the sentencing was "complex" but required an "element of retribution," a legal term providing that sentences be based on the seriousness of the offence and be proportional to the harm done by the offender.
"Ms. Sidhu does not pose a risk to the public even when operating a vehicle," Sutherland said. "She had a nearly perfect driving record, and it was a momentary lapse of attention."
He noted that Sidhu feels guilt, shame and remorse. She has been diagnosed with PTSD and depression.
Sidhu apologized to Parhar's family in court.
Parhar left behind a wife and three daughters, and a friend said he loved to play with his grandchildren every weekend.
A union leader described Parhar as a "humble" and "caring" man who was on the job for 21 years.
A TransLink spokesperson said Sidhu is still employed by Coast Mountain Bus Company, the transit authority's contracted bus operator, but has been on leave since the incident.
Parhar's family declined to comment as they left court.